To summarise the plot:
- [Background/five years ago] career girl hesitates when passionate Italian stallion proposes. Stallion has a fit of pique and marries her schoolfriend within a month.
- [Off-screen] pregnancy, miscarriage, marriage implodes.
- [Present day/five years later] schoolfriend begs career girl to visit her in Italy. Schoolfriend and stallion are both vile to career girl from the moment she arrives and no one tells her anything.
I can’t really say I enjoyed this book. I dislike “second chance” romances as a rule anyway, but I like Anne Mather and I was interested to see how she would dig the protagonists out of the massive marriage-mistake-hole she had interred them in.
She could have done with a better shovel, frankly. The sheer lack of grief at the incredibly tragic “plot twist” (aka Anne’s clumsy shovel) would drain any last vestige of sympathy you have for these characters, if indeed you had any by this stage, which I did not. In fact I never did.
I get that many readers are perhaps Catholic, so for them there’s no other valid way out of a married situation without a visit from the Pope, but seriously. We don’t need this level of dark in a romance novel. It reminds me of Ruby getting killed off in Anne of Green Gables, and you know she’s the one that has to die because she’s “flirty”. L M Montgomery should have had the guts to knock off Diana if she wanted a Tragic Young Deathbed Scene, but I digress.
Back to Elusive Desire: by the end I still didn’t actually understand why schoolgirl wanted career girl to come over, and what she was hoping career girl might achieve. None of it made any bloody sense at all when the “revelation” is finally made.
Sour, sad, sonewhat sick. There are far better Anne Mather books out there.